In Brief

Church 'hypocritical' for offering jobs below living wage

Church of England advertised a job at £6.50 an hour – £1.35 below the living wage

Conservative MPs have branded the Church of England hypocritical for criticising employers who pay staff salaries below the living wage while offering its own staff less than that amount.

The living wage is calculated by working out the basic cost of living in the UK and currently stands at £7.85 an hour outside of London.

But the Sun newspaper reports that last week the Church advertised a job at £6.50 an hour.

According to the paper, Canterbury Cathedral also advertised for two kiosk assistants at a rate of £6.70 – plus "company bonus".

The Diocese of York also placed an advertisement for a pastoral worker at £7.65 an hour, the Daily Telegraph reports – 20p short of the living wage.

Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke told the Sun: "It's astonishing that the Church of England can call for the living wage to be paid by employers but don't pay it themselves."

Another Conservative MP, Philip Davies, said many small businesses "might have considerably more difficulty raising wages" than the Church.

The news follows an open letter signed by Church of England bishops that urged employers to pay their staff at least £7.85 an hour, so that they could “live decently”.

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries said: "[The Church] is one of the wealthiest organisations in the UK and I am sure they employ some of the smartest accountants. I'm not surprised it pays the minimum wage."

In a statement, the Church of England said: "The vast majority of those employed by or sub-contracted to the central institutions are already paid at least the living wage and all will be by April 2017."

The BBC's religious affairs correspondent Caroline Wyatt said: "The intentions are there, and this is what the Church is aiming to do, but in the meantime we have probably not seen the end of this spat between politicians and the bishops."

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